Hello!

Laura Horton,
Plymouth Laureate of Words

Hello from your new Laureate of Words…

In the process of buying a small flat for myself – my first home, I’ve been spending time lately trying to figure out what I should take with me, what serves me and what doesn’t.

It struck me as I sifted through my bookshelves that I’ve gone through much the same process with other parts over the last year; considering which chapters I wanted to keep working on and which I could end with a full stop.

In pre-pandemic life I found daily distractions but sitting quietly in my own company for longer than I ever had, I couldn’t ignore myself any longer. I had been repressing my creative instincts through fear of failure, disallowing time to think, research and write.

 

I gave myself more space to create. The domino effect of making changes to my daily routine galvanised me to do more.

As I look back over last year, I realise it was a series of small acts that led me quietly to bigger things. The fragility of everything made me feel like I should be braver.

I sent my work out more widely, I said yes to things that scared me, I opened up conversations with agents, artists and producers, I spoke about myself as a writer and crucially, I gave myself more space to create. The domino effect of making changes to my daily routine galvanised me to do more.

When the opportunity to apply for Plymouth Laureate of Words presented itself I very nearly didn’t; I wasn’t sure I’d have a chance and I was wobbling about my capabilities.

But I ignored that early instinct, deciding instead to trust myself and just try, that whatever happened putting myself forward was not a mistake. I am so pleased that I did and that I am sitting here writing my first blog post as the first woman and playwright in the position.

This new chapter started on 1st January and is the beginning of a two-year position where I’ll be commissioned to write, teach, speak at public events and in schools (whether online or in person) and respond to the city of Plymouth. I’ve already had a number of very energising zoom meetings and exciting ideas for projects in the city.

Like everyone, my life over the last year has ended up being vastly different to what I’d expected. Just getting through has been a huge achievement. What I will take with me into 2021 is a renewed sense that things change so quickly and hope is always around the corner

I’ve been asked to speak to students at my old comprehensive school about where, one day, their journeys might lead, if they follow their dreams. As a shy and under confident pupil I’m thrilled to be able report, it can get better.

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